"Albatross" The story of my Jeep - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-09-2012, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Odessa
Posts: 66
"Albatross" The story of my Jeep

Just to give you guys a background on the relationship between my Jeep & I. Even after all of this, I wouldn't trade it for anything less than a completely tricked out Rubicon. Then still, nah.


About 7 years ago, I bought my Jeep from one of those "Buy Here / Pay Here" type places for $4,995.00 & she was a beauty. Black & Chrome with some favorable trimmings like the 6" suspension lift, mag rims, billet add-ons. She ran stout too, very healthy motor. I had always wanted a Jeep so I bought it, I had just enough to buy it free & clear.

We were like two peas in a pod, cruising around, just the two of us. I drove it to the rig & everywhere else. (Short explanation: "The rig" means I used to work on a drilling rig for a living)

Then after about 2 months, the transmission dropped into 2nd gear & jammed... I MEAN WOULD NOT COME THE @&%# OUT OF 2nd gear......period. I was dumbfounded.

So, I waited until I had enough money to get the AX-15 completely rebuilt with beefier parts & hardware, if I'm going to have something rebuilt, it never goes back stock, something is always upgraded. As I didn't have the time to reinstall the transmission due to a busy work schedule, I had to have a shop put it back in.

Ok, transmission is back in & better than new, we are back in action for a while ................ so I thought.

Two weeks later I am cruising around Loop 250 in Midland, TX & KERRRPLOWWW!!! My transfer case explodes all over this busy 4 lane roadway in front of the local mall. When I say exploded, I mean one driveshaft went one way, the other driveshaft went the other & pieces of the case itself were scattered across all four lanes. Talk about embarrassed & PISSED. Luckily, there was a local police officer (& Jeep owner) behind me who helped me get it to a secluded area of the mall parking lot.

Again, we wait until I can get a new NP231J transfer case for her, along with being taken to a shop that will make sure my DRIVESHAFT ISN'T TOO LONG along with making sure everything else lines up correctly when it goes back together. Eventually, a year or two later along with alot of $$$ & parts, she is back on the road & we are together again cruising in unison.

This time we go about a year & a half without any problems, dated my wife in it before we got married, etc...

Then...... The steering starts slowly acting up & all of the sudden I am dealing with "Death Wobble" as well. So here we go with all new front end gear, a major steering upgrade, & new hub assemblies. Now we're back in action again, so I thought............

This is about 2 years ago now....

I don't get to put 250 miles on it & the rear gears along with the rear wheel bearings are grinding & the front axle will not kick in when put into 4wd.
So I park it again

I save up again & get all of the parts gathered up for it, then take it back to the shop. Once they tear into it, I find out I have to replace the rear axle shafts as well, oh goody. But luckily I found a good set of hardened shafts for nearly the stock price for them to replace the old stock ones with. So, this time we replace both front & rear gears to 4:10 ratio along with a Detroit Tru-Lock limited slip rear diff & other little goodies like it.

I get the call that it is finished & rush up there to get it so we can go play in the dirt ....... so I thought

On the way home from the shop, haven't even made one stop anywhere, while slowing down at the stoplight, I encounter the worst "Death Wobble" I have ever seen in this thing. Well crap!!!! : So I limp this thing home again & discover that one of the braces to my rear left leaf springs has torn due to a crack that could not be seen before. So due to being transferred a couple times with work, etc... It's a while before I get it back to the shop.

Soooo.......... I get it to another shop & get the frame & mount issues fixed. Cool, we're good to go for some long deserved wheeling ....... So I thought

On my way back from the shop, the exhaust manifold presents the common crack that happens in the older 4.0 exhaust manifolds. Along side of this, the radiator stops up & the motor comes close to overheating. I shut the D@&^ thing down & call a tow truck to take us back to the house.

My wife has a love/hate relationship with my Jeep & calls it my "Albotross" because I have sunk over $12,000.00 into the whole project & have only driven it maybe a total of a few thousand miles.

I keep telling her & everyone else, "Hey, I've replaced almost everything on it, why stop with minor details? By the time I'm finished, everything will be pretty much new, or better"

So now, present day......

I have a new exhaust manifold, intake manifold, aftermarket radiator, water pump, fuel pump & a bunch of other new parts to throw at it this year.... We'll see how far it get's me this time

Below is a recent pic of my Jeep. Still a work in progress, but I'm pretty fond of it. All in all, it has been a fun project.

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post #2 of 3 Old 01-09-2012, 04:21 PM
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: 47.4689 N, 87.8883 W
Posts: 126
i bought a 98 tj in august about two weeks later it wouldnt start due to compression problems currently the engine is torn apart in my garage and hope it works when i get it back together then after that its rear axle time
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-09-2012, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Odessa
Posts: 66
I hear ya, that's how it starts
WesTexToolman is offline  

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